Keeping Children Healthy During Winter, A Busy Parent's Guide

Being under the weather is a part of growing up, but no parent wants to see their child come down with a cold or a bug. Although we all want to help our children to stay as healthy as possible, running around after them with sanitizer gel is not practical, nor is it particularly effective.

It is inevitable that children will come into contact with germs and illnesses that get transferred between them (and you!) as they play, grow and learn. Introducing a few easy tricks and tips means that even the busiest family can become more conscious of staying healthy and help strengthen those immune systems!

Start the Day Right

In order to stay healthy, the body needs fuel and a hearty breakfast will help to keep energy levels high and set the whole family up for the day ahead.

Try planning or preparing breakfast at the start of each week and set out your utensils and bowls the night before to help save time in the morning.

Smoothies with wholemeal toast, chopped fruit (with natural yogurt and raw honey) and overnight oats can all be prepared in advance. There are some great, tasty recipe ideas on the NHS website.

Stay Hydrated

Both adults and kids can forget to keep their hydration levels up when they’re busy. Water helps to boost immunity and flush toxins away as well as helping to prevent unhealthy snacking (as dehydration can be mistaken for hunger).

Get your children to choose a new water bottle that they can take to nursery or school, encourage them to take regular sips and set a challenge to drink the whole bottle each day – you could even use stickers as rewards to keep them motivated! Another good tip is to ensure that your family has a jug of water on the table for every meal time.

Get Those Z’s In

Bedtimes are often a challenge and sleep can be the bane of a parent’s life. However, sleep is how our body relaxes and repairs itself so it is important to get the right amount each night. A rested body is a healthy body.

If bedtime is difficult, try starting the wind-down an hour before if possible. During wind-down it is important to avoid stimulating screen time or games and stop sugary snacks to avoid unwanted spikes in energy!

Low lighting in the bedroom can be helpful – red, yellow, orange or blue light have all been suggested to help in promoting sleep. Natural light can be kept out when needed by using blackout blinds.

Trying to make the end of the day as relaxing as possible and enjoying a calm story before bed will help settle everyone into a relaxing, long sleep.

Good Hygiene Habits

Germs can be spread by children putting their hands where they shouldn’t and then straight into their mouths!

Introducing good hygiene habits as a fun part of everyday life from an early age will help everyone to remain aware. You could let the kids chose a fun hand soap for the bathroom and even their own hand towel. Hand washing should be made into a fun part of every bathroom visit, after playing outdoors, and before every meal time.

Encouraging the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ mantra in a fun way will make it feel less like another boring rule that the kids have to follow.

Be Prepared

Illness will happen and this can actually help to strength the immunity of your family over time. However, there is no harm in preparing for those times when the family are under the weather.

St John Ambulance has a lot of helpful first aid advice for parents on their website. This can explain what action needs to be taken and help you spot signs of more serious conditions.

You could also invest in an easy to use, accurate thermometer to keep in the family medicine cabinet. Kinetik thermometers offer either a non-contact or an inner ear function, both of which are simple to use for the whole family.

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Last updated: Feb 1, 2020 at 5:39 PM


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